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Beginner's Heart

grammar

via Google

I’m finishing up the editing details on a short essay. So of course I did grammar check. Now note: I teach writing. So I’m well aware of grammar. But, as a poet, I’m also aware of style. And style trumps formal grammar.

For instance: don’t begin a sentence w/ ‘And,’ as I did above. Nor should I use fragments. Even for rhetorical emphasis. 🙂

What’s even funnier than the stuffy pedantry of grammar check is realising that I don’t care. As Tulsa’s once-upon-a-time Grammar Hotline (if you called the paper, or the university, with a grammar question, they transferred you to me :)), that may be heresy.

But it’s true: I am confident enough these days that I don’t care what grammar check tells me. I know the rules. Ergo? I can break them when I choose.

via Southern Poverty Law Center

via Southern Poverty Law Center

Don’t do this at home.

Seriously, though:it’s a kind of Buddhist mantra, if you think about it. Know what’s  expected, and then decide if that’s appropriate. If it suits the time, the context, the need. Like I once heard a Unitarian minister say (and he might have been a Buddhist, as well — some are): don’t let ersatz tolerance be your excuse for not getting involved. “Tolerance’ may sound good, unless you’re tolerating injustice. Hate.

Letting people get by with horrible behaviour is not tolerance. That doesn’t mean you have to whack them (although I’ve often wanted to!). It does mean we’re thinkers — we’re supposed to question. Questions lead to well-thought-out answers (if we’re lucky, and think long enough…).

Like grammar, it’s a question of style. And mean doesn’t work for anyone.

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